Another one of those ‘things you should know about me’ notes: I walk. A lot.
In other words, apart from when I feel sick or when I’m not home [so, usually like once a week or so], I’ve been walking my dog [the newest] close to every day since we got him the beginning of February.
More words: This dog is a mixed breed. German Shepherd/American Bulldog. 50/50 mix. A year old last month. Clocked in at just below 86 pounds yesterday.
This is a [rather awful] picture of him at 9 months old:
He’s grown a bit since that. Filled out. His ear doesn’t really flop that severely anymore.
I have NOT grown since this.
Point in short: Big dog. Small person. I refused to have another dog we didn’t walk [that said, the other two are little ones and…ehh.], and didn’t want him getting overweight, especially since he’s a bigger dog and they live shorter lives as is. SO, I made it a point to walk him as much as necessary, and be hard on him. There was a point where I was walking him a couple miles three times a day.
My sister did and does walk him when I can’t.
He does, for the most part, walk like an angel now. He walks next to or behind you, doesn’t flip all over the place anymore. He’ll ignore people. The only thing we’re still working on is ignoring other dogs. If they’re cranky, it’s usually okay. If not, he wants to go play. BUT, for the most part, he’s good.
Which is why I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around how so many other dog owners seemingly cannot manage this.
Yes, I completely understand it’s more difficult to train a dog once it’s older. I started when he was a puppy. I get that. But it’s not impossible. Get a choke chain. Seriously. There is nothing cruel about them if you use them correctly. Learn.
Sure, the muzzle things, normal collars and zap collars CAN work if you use them right. But, in my opinion, those are all lazy ways. Suck it up and learn something about dogs.
I’ll walk, with or without him, or drive around the subdivision and just be amazed at how many people have their dogs either flipping out and going nuts at other dogs [mainly little ones are the cray ones, as to be expected, but some bigger ones as well], or just walking a leash’s length in front of them. Really?
Dogs are not people. It’s different. If your dog is walking 5 feet in front of you, pulling or not, then you are not walking your dog. It is walking you, it is the boss, and you are dirt.
Mere walking habits are not the only things that confuse me, though.
Treats are another thing I don’t get. [My dog is in love with ice cubes. So that’s pretty much his treat. Always. He literally doesn’t get normal ones. Because he doesn’t care.]
I mean, I understand the concept, I just don’t see why seemingly everyone uses them for every aspect of life with their dog. And other people’s dogs.
For instance: One of the couples in my subdivision who I’ve seen often since I started walking Dante, carries treats with them. Their dog is calm, but is one of those dog-is-walking-you types. When we first met they’d offer Dante a treat when we saw them. Eventually, they quit.
Simple. Because offering treats doesn’t make a dog like you. It doesn’t make him respect you, which is basically the most important thing with dogs. What it does is make me look like the bad guy for saying no, or if I say yes it makes my dog go batshit when he sees you and lose all sense and order trying to get to treats. He doesn’t LIKE you: He likes what you GIVE HIM. If you don’t want my dog jumping on you – because I certainly don’t want him jumping on you, but it’s a lot harder for me to train him to be decent if you keep putting me backwards a step – and don’t want him tangling himself up with your dog, use your brain: He does not need treats. Treats do nothing. All they do is fatten your dog and make him haywire. There is literally no point. Positive praise is just as effective, if not more so. Or, in our case, ice cubes. It’s water. Simple.
Also. Quit yelling at them. If they do something wrong, chances are it’s your fault for not teaching them otherwise. Whether it is or not isn’t the point: Fact is dogs don’t respond to that. I mean really. If you have little, yappy dogs, you know how it is. I do. We didn’t train them as puppies like we should have, and we pay for it. It’s easy and really, it’s just an impulse to scream at them when they’re barking nonstop at a car down the road. Yes, I understand that. But understanding doesn’t mean it works.
Sure, go ahead and get a zap collar. I know people who have gotten said collars and swear by them. Problem is that the dog isn’t magically a brilliant or trained dog, and doesn’t mean it respects you. It learns what not to do, but that’s the lazy way. You COULD just get off the sofa and walk it. I promise, that kills a lot of problems. Especially in younger or more high-strung dogs. Quit being lazy and take responsibility for your animal. Little ones are annoying, but big ones can actually hurt you or someone else just because you refuse to do what you signed up for by owning it.
ALSO. When in doubt, watch the Dog Whisperer. I know, everyone tells you that. But, it’s for good reason.
This was mainly just a rant post with a couple of pictures. As a simple disclaimer, I’m not trying to act like a know-it-all. My dogs are nowhere near perfect. Even the one that IS trained. Sure, he’s better than a lot, but he’s not perfect. I understand that. Even so, I try. As should you. DO ET. And quit offering my dog treats, would you?